Order of Service

Westminster Abbey

Thursday, 22nd February 2024

17:00

Evensong

Welcome to Westminster Abbey. Daily prayer has been offered in this place for over a thousand years, and your participation in today's service is warmly welcomed. At choral Evensong most of the service is sung by the choir on our behalf. We participate through our presence and our listening, that the words and the music might become a prayer within us and lift us to contemplate God's beauty and glory.

The service always includes one or more psalms. These ancient prayers, taken from the Old Testament, reflect the full range of human emotions and experiences; from the depths of anger, resentment, and abandonment to the heights of ecstatic joy and praise. They were used by Jesus, and have always been at the heart of the Church's daily prayer.

The canticles Magnificat (Luke 1: 46–55) and Nunc dimittis (Luke 2: 29–32) reflect two responses to the Incarnation (God becoming fully human in Jesus Christ). Both speak of the fulfilment of God's promises, not just to 'Abraham and his seed', but also 'to be a light to lighten the Gentiles' (all nations). With their themes of fulfilment and completion, these texts have been given central place for many centuries in the Church's prayers for the evening and at the end of the day.

Please join in saying the words printed in bold type.

The church is served by a hearing loop. Users should turn their hearing aid to the setting marked T.

Photography, filming, and sound recording are not allowed in the Abbey during services. Please ensure that mobile telephones and other electronic devices are silent.

The service is sung by the Lay Vicars of Westminster Abbey.

Following the service a collection will be takenthe money from today's services will be divided equally between Tariro—Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe International and the work of the Abbey. Tariro helps young people in Zimbabwe to learn, develop, and grow until they can support themselves.


Order of Service


All stand as the choir and clergy enter


The choir sings the Introit

Audi, benigne Conditor,
Nostras preces cum fletibus,
Sacrata in abstinentia
Fusas quadragenaria.

Scrutator alme cordium,
Infirma tu scis virium;
Ad te reversis exhibe
Remissionis gratiam.

Praesta, beata Trinitas,
Concede, simplex Unitas,
Ut fructuosa sint tuis
haec parcitatis munera.
   Amen.

O merciful Creator, hear!
To us in pity bow your ear:
Accept the tearful prayer we raise
In this our fast of forty days.

Our hearts are open, Lord, to you:
You know our infirmity;
Pour out on all who seek your face
Abundance of your pardoning grace.

We pray to you, Holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence.
   Amen.

Words: Office hymn for Lent
Music: plainsong


All remain standing as the officiant introduces the Confession

Beloved, we are come together in the presence of Almighty God and of the whole company of heaven to offer unto him through our Lord Jesus Christ our worship and praise and thanksgiving; to make confession of our sins; to pray, as well for others as for ourselves, that we may know more truly the greatness of God's love and show forth in our lives the fruits of his grace; and to ask on behalf of all people such things as their well-being doth require. Wherefore let us sit or kneel and keep silence, and remember God's presence with us now.


All kneel or sit to say together

O God, our Father,
we have sinned against thee
in thought, word, and deed;
we have not loved thee with all our heart;
we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves.
Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee;
cleanse us from our sins;
and help us to overcome our faults;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


The officiant gives the Absolution

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant unto you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


All say together the Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.


All stand. The officiant and choir sing the Responses

O Lord, open thou our lips
and our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Praise ye the Lord.
The Lord's name be praised.

Music: plainsong


All sit. The choir sings Psalm 108

O God, my heart is ready, my heart is ready : I will sing and give praise with the best member that I have.
Awake, thou lute, and harp : I myself will awake right early.
I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the people : I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.
For thy mercy is greater than the heavens : and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.
Set up thyself, O God, above the heavens : and thy glory above all the earth.
That thy beloved may be delivered : let thy right hand save them, and hear thou me.
God hath spoken in his holiness : I will rejoice therefore, and divide Sichem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasses is mine : Ephraim also is the strength of my head.
Judah is my law-giver, Moab is my wash-pot : over Edom will I cast out my shoe; upon Philistia will I triumph.
Who will lead me into the strong city : and who will bring me into Edom?
Hast not thou forsaken us, O God : and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts?
O help us against the enemy : for vain is the help of man.
Through God we shall do great acts : and it is he that shall tread down our enemies.

All stand

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Chant: plainsong


All sit for the first Lesson, Genesis 13: 1–13

Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.

Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram's livestock and the herders of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Then Abram said to Lot, 'Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.' Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastwards; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

Here ends the first lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Magnificat

Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
   et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo Salutari meo;
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.
   Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes;
quia fecit mihi Magna qui potens est,
   et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie in progenies
   timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,
   dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede
   et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis
   et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
   recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
   Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto;
sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the lowliness of his hand-maiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek; he hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel, as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Magnificat octavi toni, Philippe de Monte (1521–1603)


All sit for the second Lesson, 1 Peter 2: 13–end

For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honour everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honour the emperor.

Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
'He committed no sin,
   and no deceit was found in his mouth.'
When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Here ends the second lesson.


All stand. The choir sings Nunc dimittis

Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine
   secundum verbum tuum in pace,
quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
   quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum,
lumen ad revelationem Gentium
   et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Gloria Patri et Filio
et Spiritui Sancto;
sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, to be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Nunc dimittis tertii toni, Robert Quinney (b 1976)


All face east to say together the Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth:
and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
Amen.


The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

All kneel or sit. The officiant and choir sing the Lesser Litany; the Lord's Prayer and the Responses

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us. 

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
And grant us thy salvation.

O Lord, save The King.
And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

Endue thy ministers with righteousness.
And make thy chosen people joyful.

O Lord, save thy people.
And bless thine inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our hearts within us.
And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.


The officiant sings the Collects; of the day, of Lent, for peace, and for aid against all perils

O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Lighten our darkness we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Music: plainsong


All sit. The choir sings the Anthem

Hear the voice and prayer of thy servants, that they make before thee this day. That thine eyes may be opened toward this house night and day, ever toward this place, of which thou hast said, 'My name shall be there'. And when thou hearest have mercy on them.

Words: after 2 Chronicles 6: 19–21
Music: Thomas Tallis (c 1505–85)


All kneel or remain seated for the Intercessions


The officiant says the Prayers; for the Royal Family, and for the Members of the Order of the Bath

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our most gracious Sovereign Lord King Charles, Queen Camilla, William Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God save our Gracious Sovereign, and all the Members of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath living and departed. Amen.


All say

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.
Amen.


All stand as the choir and clergy depart


Those who wish to may sit for the remainder of the organ voluntary


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Today's Services

Thursday, 22nd February 2024
7.30am Morning Prayer Quire
said
8.00am Holy Communion St Faith's Chapel
said
12.30pm Holy Communion Nave
said
5.00pm Evensong Quire
sung by the Lay Vicars

plainsong Audi benigne Conditor
plainsong Responses
Monte Magnificat octavi toni
Quinney Nunc dimittis tertii toni
Tallis Hear the voice and prayer of thy servants

View Order of Service